I cannot think of many artists…
who have covered as much ground as Johh Galea. His fourth E.P., Missing Pages, was released last year and, since then, he has played the Main Stage at Sundown Festival; appeared at London Pride – the video for the single, When You Truly Love Someone, gained massive support and views on YouTube. I speak to Galea about his latest track, Honesty, and the story behind it; whether there is going to be an E.P./album arriving – and how he got into music.
He reveals when music came in his life and the evolution present in his own work; those albums/artists that have shaped who he is; what tour dates are approaching – whether there are any plans (already cemented) for next year.
Hi, John. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m good, thanks. Yeah; busy as ever.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am Independent singer/songwriter from sunny Great Yarmouth; now living in London - and my music is heavily influenced by piano and Soul music.
Tell me more about Honesty. What is the story behind the song?
The track, Honesty, I wrote with the amazing singer/songwriter, Frankmusik. I came up with the title, Honesty, and main chorus and took it to a writing session we had - and it developed from there. It’s a very simple - but honest - track about love and what we all need in it.
How has your music evolved since your fourth E.P., Missing Pages? Have you found yourself developing and changing as an artist?
I have gone from Dance-based-Pop to more of a soulful sound (and songwriting). I still have those upbeat tracks - but they are certainly deeper, message and songwriting-wise, than my earlier music.
What was it like playing at events like London Pride and Sundown Festival? How vital were they in regards your confidence?
It is all very vital and great experience.
The fact is, as an unsigned artist, I was performing on the same stage as Craig David and Rag'n'Bone Man. It was crazy. The interaction you get from the audience - e.g., singing back the words etc. - is something you can only get playing live (and I love it).
There's nothing like performing live.
The video for Honesty documents your time at Sundown. Did you feel the images naturally scored and represented the ideas expressed in the song?
Well. The idea was there’s an honesty between performing live - and performing live is a very special thing for me. The reaction, be it good or bad, is instant and you can see, as a performer, if the crowd likes your stuff or not - and the track all about asking for that honesty in a relationship; so we thought the two would work well. Also, it gives backstage footage of Sundown and getting ready and it’s great to show people the ‘behind-the-scenes’ element of performing.
It ain't all glamorous.
Your single, When You Truly Love Someone, did big business on YouTube. Were you humbled by the response that song got?! What, do you think, was the reason for it?
I am indeed...
I knew we had something special when my producer, Oscar Lo Brutto, said that’s the one to release. He knows what he likes. The fact it has done so well on VEVO and now, being considered for a Grammy, is so cool. The track is all about the conflict of the pain when it comes to loving someone.
It is something, I guess, we all can relate to.
Music came into your life at a young age. You started writing at thirteen! Were there particular artists that compelled your spark? Why did you decide to get into the business?
I watched Mariah Carey sing once on T.V. and she blew me away - and I wanted to sing.
But, then, when my dad brought home an electric organ one day; I wanted to go deeper and see how you write songs - and write hits and write my own music – hence, the classical grades I achieved and the constant need to switch the radio on (and see what music was coming out).
IN THIS PHOTO: Lao Ra
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
I write for and with new artist all the time and I can’t wait to hear Lao Ra’s album when it drops.
Also; keep an eye out for a soul singer called Wayne Thurtell. He’s going to do well.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Daydream - Mariah Carey
My first C.D. that was given to me - and I played it to death I love it. Looking In, the last track, is such a personal track - so good!
The Record - The Bee Gees
It is their greatest hits and I played it to death when it came out. I couldn’t believe how many amazing tracks they wrote for other people - as well as themselves.
Songwriting at its best!
1000 Forms of Fear - Sia
She is a musical genius and has to overcome so much to get her music out there! This album is so good and so raw - and honest and real - but commercial at the same time.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Never let anyone, including industry people, put you off doing what you want to do! Do your music homework and keep working to achieve your goals. You can do anything you want to - just got to work hard and keep on pushing even when times are hard.
We all get those days!
Where can we see you play this year? Any new dates coming up?
Not at the moment - as most of the year I have been playing live, on tour and at festivals. It’s studio-time, now, for me.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Spending it with family in Norfolk and, hopefully, get out somewhere nice for New Year.
Do you have a gameplan for 2018? What do you want to achieve next year?
I’m writing with some new artists (and myself) so will be producing, either a new E.P. or working towards my first album - and seeing how that all goes.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
You Can Do Anything - Sia
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